Pubdate: Tue, 19 Dec 2017
Source: Winkler Times (CN MB)
Copyright: 2017 Winkler Times
Author: Greg Vandermeulen


WINKLER - The City of Winkler will not honour the province's Dec. 22
deadline to indicate whether or not they'd be willing to have
marijuana sold in the community.

Mayor Martin Harder was the first municipal leader in Manitoba to make
that statement and he said they don't feel they have enough facts to
make a decision either way.

"We haven't got any information," he said. "It's a moving target, and
every time we get some information it's different than what we knew

Harder said they haven't heard any details about potential support
from the province for any increased costs they may have.

"We have no idea what the commitment is from the province as far as
the support for the community to deal with social issues," he said.

The province has issued some basic information on their new cannabis

"We know it will be legal, we know the minimum age is 19... but we
don't have any other details," Harder said. "We're buying a vehicle
and we don't even know if it has an engine or wheels."

Municipalities have not had time to kick the tires on any cannabis
model, and Harder said that's not fair.

"I think we deserve to be treated better, that we need to have more
information," he said.

The decision to hold off on making a decision was made after they
witnessed the same strategy by Morden-Winkler MLA and Manitoba Finance
Minister Cameron Friesen.

"...we had the report back from the finance minister, our own MLA,
coming back from Ottawa having been given all the details and having
been given the fact they are getting a 75/25 [tax] split and refusing
to sign it because they didn't have enough information," he said.
"That's exactly where I'm at."

Harder said he's received support for his position from

"He's actually given me confidence to stick with the position we
took," he said.

Despite asking for more details, Harder said they are slow in coming,
and the response simply asks for trust. "It's more or less 'trust me,
we'll do what's right for you'," he said.

Despite the December 22 deadline, Harder said they won't be pushed to
make a decision before they know what's right for Winkler, and that
could include some public input.

"I'm in no hurry," he said. "I think we're going to continue to push
towards having a community town hall meeting and get people, experts
at the table... who are going to be able to answer the questions
intelligently, both from a distributor point of view and those who
have concerns about it." Winkler is a desired location for at least
one cannabis company.

"I had a visit from a company who's very interested in setting up," he
said. "I learned a lot more from them, than I ever [did] from anybody
else, whether federal or provincial governments as to what they can do
or are prepared to do," he said.

That means that right now the City of Winkler has no direction as to
whether cannabis products will be sold.

"I'm not saying no and I'm not saying yes," Harder said. "The sooner
we get information, the sooner we can make an intelligent decision."
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